Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Favorite All-Time Recipes #2: The Cake I Make

There is one cake, when the occasion calls for it, that I always make. This is the one cake that really has all the flavors and textures that I really love all wrapped up into one nice neat package. It is a polenta, almond, olive oil and lemon cake that in our house is just called "cake". It is a Deborah Krasner (known for her book on tasting olive oil) recipe that was in Eating Well magazine years ago, and one that I am so glad I clipped and saved in my recipe box. Not being a very accomplished baker, this one always gives me confidence in my baking. I know you'll love it - especially with a nice raspberry sauce to smear each bite through! Enjoy!

Lemon Almond Polenta Torta
Preheat oven to 325° F - butter and flour a 9 in. springform pan
  • ½ c. coarse yellow cornmeal or polenta
  • ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1½ c whole almonds (7.5 oz)
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 large organic lemon, scrubbed
  • ¾ c. mild extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • ½ c. milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp. almond extract (I usually increase to 1 tsp.)
  • 1 T. powdered sugar for dusting
  • raspberry sauce

Butter and flour a 9 in. springform pan

First 3 ingredients in a bowl

Sugar and almonds in the food processor

Pulse to combine

Halve the lemon - juice one half, cut into 4 pieces, then seed and cut the other half into 4 pieces. Add juice and lemons to the almond sugar mixture.

Pulse to chop and combine - about 45 seconds.

Add remaining ingredients - EVOO, milk, eggs, and extract.

Looks soupy - time to add dry ingredients.

All at once is fine.

Pour into prepared pan, and put in preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, unmold when ready to serve.

Dust with the powdered sugar and some raspberry sauce. For the raspberry sauce, I cook over medium high heat 1 c. frozen raspberries, ½ c. sugar, and usually some lemon zest if you have it, or some maple syrup. Cook down until saucy, then strain out seeds and there you have it!


Candace said...

I'm making this this weekend! Sounds unbelievable (and easy). But "mild" EVOO? What's that?

mara said...

Enjoy it Candace! EVOO is extra virgin olive oil. It is so great and moist and yummy. Let me know how it goes!

Deborah Krasner said...

I am so glad you like my cake! I created it for my editor at the time, Sydny Minor at Simon and Schuster because she loves the texture of cornmeal and cakes that are not so sweet. Do you know that my book THE FLAVORS OF OLIVE OIL won the James Beard Award? I think it was this cake that helped make it happen. Look out for more cookable recipes in my forthcoming book GOOD MEAT, due next September.

mara said...

Thanks so much, Deborah! I really appreciate you reading the blog! This really is one of my all-time favorite cakes. Thank you!

Andrea said...

Mara, that looks beautiful. I'm super into nut cakes lately- they're easy to make gluten-free. I just saw a similar recipe that used orange instead of lemon.

Robin @ Hippo Flambe said...

Mara, Thank you for posting this. As you already know I made it with kumquats and it was a hit with everyone. It was so easy to make but tastes complex.


CiaoRoma said...

This looks awesome. I will be making this on Sunday along with this, http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=577148 or maybe Blue Cheese Panini Burgers.

Candace said...

Mara, I made the cake twice last weekend (I knew what EVOO is, but not sure if "mild" required some specific version). I thought the first cake was a bit bland -- not enough almond flavor for me. So for cake #2, I toasted the almonds in the oven first, cooled them, and then proceeded. Delish!